“She was already thinking of herself
as a kind of expatriate…not
smothered by what she believed to
be America’s puritanical and
materialistic culture, which she
had little patience for.
She saw herself more a European
soul, in tune with the thinkers and
artists she felt expressed her
tragic, romantic, freethinking view
– Vicky Christina Barcelona
Photo taken as we walked up the stairs to enter historical, old Genève. August 2012.
Our transatlantic flight left Minneapolis on Friday, August 10th. My parents had flown in fifty minutes before from Tucson, Arizona. We were doing a swap. My mom was staying here in Minneapolis helping my husband look after the kids while my dad and I were boarding a non-stop flight to Amsterdam at approximately 7:30 pm. I could hardly wait.
Thankfully their flight was on-time, always a concern with a short connection, and I promptly gave my mom a hug and kiss hello and goodbye as she headed to the baggage claim where my husband and kids were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their beloved grandma. My dad and I proceeded to board a completely full flight and off we were on our latest adventure.
We landed in Amsterdam about eight hours later to an overcast summer sky. I had managed to sleep only a few hours as I’m not good at sleeping sitting up (is anyone?). I find overseas flights rather unpleasant except for the free flowing wine and energetic anticipation of landing in faraway land.
Our connection was short and an hour and a half later we were touching ground in Geneva where we would meet our British guide Mark from Simply Savoie and set off for a six day hiking tour of the French Alps. Our journey was about to begin…..
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
– Harriet Tubman
The two other hikers in our group were coming in from England….yet five hours later. We had no idea there would be such a delay. Instead, we imagined getting into the car and heading straight towards the French Alps to a little mountain town called Pralognan-la-Vanoise where we would sip delicious wine, munch on savory fromage and then indulge in a rich, heavy french meal before heading off to much-needed sleep.
Desperately craving sleep, at that moment, a helpful saying told to me years ago by a fellow traveler in Germany rang clearly in my head.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
I hadn’t been to Geneva in years. Instead of sitting around the airport for five long, grueling, jet lagged hours, why not hop the train and head into the center of town and explore?
And that is what we did. 18 euros later we had a aller-retour ticket to the center of town. Stepping out of the train station and gaining our bearings, it looked impressive. Old Parisian-styled buildings. Outdoor cafes. All the charm and ambiance of a typical European town. I felt at ease. I love Europe. I love this kind of town.
Yet, ten minutes later, we found the true heart and soul of Geneva: We discovered Old Genève, and my being and camera were suddenly constantly moving….
It was an unexpected surprise. Sometimes those are the best of all.
Stay tuned…day one of our hike coming up next!